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2021 Grants Challenge
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Building better pathways for aspiring teachers across L.A.

Idea by Rivet School

Teacher pipelines are broken and often don't represent the students we serve, so Rivet School and Alder Graduate School of Education are working together to build a better pathway for school-based workers to become teachers – leading to a stronger and more racially diverse teacher workforce. While working full time, these staff will earn their BA in an innovative degree program at Rivet School before going on to earn a MA and teaching credential at Alder GSE – unlocking economic opportunity and a fulfilling lifelong career in education.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

South LA

City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Schools across the state employ over nearly 500,000 classified employees. In Los Angeles, these staff members tend to be people of color from the local community. At the same time, LA schools face a teacher shortage, struggling to recruit and retain teachers reflective of the racial identity of the students they serve. Research bears out the significance of same-race teachers for students of color – increasing performance on academic assessments in math and reading. The pipeline to teaching is broken: districts already employ a massive pool of homegrown prospective teachers of color — but these staff cannot advance without earning a bachelor’s degree first. By creating a more flexible, supported pathway through college and into credential training, our program taps into an overlooked population of working adults seeking opportunity. While many think of college attainment as a goal for 18-22 year olds, Rivet School's efforts significantly expand the market of potential graduates.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Rivet School provides an accelerated, affordable, and supportive college experience for working adults to earn a bachelor's degree. We unlock the promise of online education through real-time 1:1 coaching, enabling students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 2-3 years and, ultimately, to access untapped opportunity through increased economic mobility. Rivet School’s Educator Pathway program solves a specific problem facing non-degree holding classified school staff (like instructional aids and after school workers) that aspire to become teachers but cannot leave their full-time school-based job to enroll in college. Through partnership with schools and community organizations, we find and enroll these classified staff into our program and layer on extra support to pass state licensure exams (CBEST/CSET) and enter a high-quality credential program. Through our collaboration with Alder Graduate School of Education (Alder GSE), we support K-12 schools to build resilient internal pipelines for classified staff to become teachers in their schools. Rivet School has partnered with some of the largest school districts in California, including Stockton, Oakland, and San Francisco school districts, and this grant will support our work to expand impact in LA. Recently, we launched partnerships with a number of Los Angeles schools including the Inner City Education Foundation, STEM Prep, and Equitas Academy, recognizing this is only the beginning of our work in Los Angeles.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 3,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

In California, LA is a leader when it comes to diversifying the teacher workforce. In LAUSD, Latinx and Black teachers make up 41% and 10% of the workforce, respectively – both more than double the state average. Rivet School and Alder GSE aim to build on this great progress and contribute toward achieving parity to better mirror L.A. county’s student demographics. Nearly 90% of Rivet School’s Educator Pathway students are Black and Latinx – promoting stronger student outcomes by furthering racial diversity in LA’s classrooms. Along the way, our graduates will prove out working adults can achieve college success – contributing toward the 50 percent bachelor's degree attainment. Additionally, our pathway plays a larger role in income equality as it relates to the Gini index. First year teachers in LA earn nearly $26K more annually than non-degree holding staff like instructional aids. Our pathway disrupts the status quo by making college and economic advancement possible.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Rivet School is a results-oriented organization and we consider our impact over short- and long-term time horizons. In the short term, we will enroll 100 LA-based school workers on the Educator Pathway (EP) before August 2022. Of those enrolled, 80% will identify as Black or Latinx. Currently, Rivet School serves 50 EP students, of which 90% identify as Black or Latinx. We will also support EP students to earn their BA within 3 years. Currently enrolled students are on track to earn their degree in 3.1 years, putting us within reach of our pace goal (and compared to 5.5 years at CSUs). In the long term, we will support 80% of EP students to pass the CBEST and CSET within 6 months of graduation. We are still early, but of our 9 graduates, 3 have passed the CBEST. We will also achieve a 90% rate of matriculation into credential programs within 6 months of graduation. We are still early, but of our 9 graduates, 9 have been accepted into credential programs.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

Rivet School and Alder GSE have closely partnered for over two years. Our missions and teams are aligned in every regard – from our commitments to racial equity to the high standards we set for teaching and learning. We’ve successfully worked with schools in the Bay Area to build internal teacher pipelines and want to replicate that success in LA. Alder GSE’s high touch teacher residency model enables candidates to earn their teaching credential and Master’s degree while apprenticing with an expert teacher alongside a community of peers. Currently, 96% of Alder students obtain full time teaching positions upon graduation, and they already partner with several LA-based schools. Alder welcomes Rivet graduates into its program knowing that our students are motivated aspiring teachers.

Which of the LEARN metrics will you impact?​

College graduates

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to CREATE